FIND THE SPECIAL TECHNIQUES THAT MAKE YOUR ART UNIQUE

Last month I wrote about how to find your signature style. And though I still feel that’s a blog post worth reading I would like to add something to it. Something about finding the special techniques that make your art unique. It may be easier to find those as it is to find your signature style. While your special techniques will definitely point you in the right direction!

WHAT MY SPECIAL TECHNIQUES ARE

Cutting

Cutting may not be a special technique but it is a talent. I like to think I am a cutting pro. With my ancient scissors I even get through extra thick oil paint paper so that’s saying something. Maybe the special technique lies more in the choices I make while I am cutting. Where I always choose to cut my own drawings following their lines meticulously I cut my magazines and books differently.

You can see the difference below: magazine photographs and botanical shapes from books I always cut out with a small white space around them. There is no deep meaning behind this (I am sorry). But I have done this for as long as I can remember. (I am going to suppress the urge to tell you everything about all the collages I made as a child. And how I was always meant to become a collage maker, because seriously, you’ve probably read it all hundreds of times before).

Cut outs of my ink drawings:
special techniques that make your art unique mine is cutting
cut outs of ink drawings by the fran collage artist 2021
Cut outs of magazines and books:
special techniques that make your art unique mine is cutting
cut outs of magazines and books soon to become collages by the fran collage artist 2021
Composition making

Besides cutting there’s composition making. I like to think I am a pro at that as well. The best part of that is that I am not even judging with my eyes. I always make compositions sitting or crouching down. When a composition is ready my body tells me by standing up. The only thing I really have to do is to listen. And to practice my squats, because after 8 hours in the studio my legs get tired and my body doesn’t really care about compositions anymore… So yes, I use my eyes, but they feel more like a tool than like a judge.

If I had put one and two together I could have figured out my signature style way earlier. But then again, you have to be ready to find your style. Otherwise it will feel way to easy and lazy. Why’s that?

Time lapse cutting up paper

SPECIAL TECHNIQUES OR TALENTS?

I feel an artist’s special techniques are closely linked to their specific talents. As with mine (cutting and composition). I think it kind of works like this: you have a certain talent but you’re not aware of it (it usually goes like this with talents). Because it is a talent you like to do it, especially when you’re young and you just like to do what you like. So you keep on enjoying your talent and keep perfecting it out of sheer joy but you do not see it as something others work very hard for.

Talents are for lazy people, right?

Then you get older and you want things to be harder or you want to learn new and difficult skills and techniques, you see other people doing. Especially when you train to be an artist these kind of things can happen because you get inspired by other artists and want to be like them or want to make art like their art. Maybe you even stop using your talent for a while. Because it just seems too easy and too lazy to be just cutting things up while others are making the most amazing oil pastel drawings…

And then you hit a wall. That usually happens when you’re very tired, very frustrated, very unhappy or all of them at once. For me it happened when I was really very tired. You hit a wall and you lose purpose. Or you lose the joy in creating. What’s vital when you hit a wall is that you let it hit you. Don’t crawl back and change directions. Just let yourself crash into that wall and feel all the bricks crippling your motivation. Because once you have really felt that deep frustration and emptiness you will allow your talent to come back to you. When there is no energy for anything else, your talent will come to save the day. Because your talent does not cost you any energy. So it’s the only thing you will have the strength for.

Hit that wall!

Let it happen. Let is find you. Your talent and your special techniques. Let your talent bring you back your energy and your joy. And let me assure you: once you’ve found the immense childlike joy of working with your talent your grown up side will NEVER accuse it of being easy and lazy again. It will cherish the hell out of it and never want to be doing anything else!

HOW YOU CAN’T COPY SPECIAL TECHNIQUES

Many artists don’t like sharing their special techniques or their process. They are afraid people will steal or copy them. I am not afraid of that. Simply because I believe you cannot steal or copy someone’s special talent. There may be artists or children out there that can cut as well as I. Or that has the same eye (or body) for composition. I just know that I am the only one combining the two as I am doing now. So please, don’t worry about sharing your talents and your techniques. It is so rewarding for people who love your art to see, hear and learn more about your practice! It really gives your art an extra dimension. Like how I want my scissors.

HOW I WANT MY SCISSORS

Some people are very strict about how they want their coffee. I am not one of those people. I drink my coffee black, but I won’t decline a good cappuccino or even a strong espresso with a slice of chocolate cake. The again, I am very strict about how I want my scissors. To be precise: I want them upside down, pointy and small.

I very much feel scissors are designed the wrong way around actually. Because when you use your scissors upside down their agility is way better. It also makes you able to cut very tight corners. Furthermore I can only work with scissors that have sharp points. I am not even sure what’s the purpose of scissors with rounded of points? They always leave a little tear in the paper and by doing so making it impossible to cut a tight corner. Lastly, my scissors need to be small. I have very small hands (or so I have been told…) so my scissors need to be tiny as well. I can’t work with large (e.g. ‘normal sized’) scissors because I can’t cut

So, long story short, my special cutting techniques are made possible by small, sharp, pointy scissors that can easily be used upside down.

SO WHAT ARE YOUR TALENTS?

What about you? Have you already found your special techniques? Or are you hiding your talent away under assumptions of laziness? What is it that comes naturally? What things do not cost you any energy? I would love to hear from you!

KICK OFF YOUR 2021 WITH THE BEST ONLINE ARTIST COLLAB

Want to kick off your 2021 with some colourful art and inspiration? Then you’ve come to the right place! January 20 we will open our first online art exhibition: Moving Forward. Moving Forward is an online artist collab between four international artists. Myself included, of course.

Next to some brand new botanical themed collages and a couple of new year-themed works in lucky red by me, this is what you can expect:

artist collab: moving forward online art exhibit opens January 20 2021 featuring work of berenice albrecht charlotte johnston toni harrower and the fran

KICK 2021 OFF WITH AUSTRALIAN WATERCOLOURS BY BERENICE ALBRECHT

Berenice Albrecht is an Australian artist, mother and grandmother. Berenice is a watercolorist with a passion for ink line defnitions. She is retired and she is enjoying the freedom to make art. She finds inspiration in the colours and shapes of nature.

Berenice’s work is playful yet distinguished. It combines lush colours with distinctive black lines. I find her botanical drawings especially striking. And the good news is that our exhibition features seven of these beauties!

I am not going to spoil our artist collab by showing you her work here. Head over to our online art exhibition to find out what Berenice has painted from her garden during lockdown!

ALSO JOINING OUR ARTIST COLLAB: ENGLISH ARTIST CHARLOTTE JOHNSTON

Charlotte Johnston is a Scottish artist, living and working in England. She mostly works outside because she wants to be able to respond quickly to movement and light levels.

Her painting style is vivid and energetic and her colour combinations are ace! But painting isn’t her only talent, she can draw as well. With seeming ease she captures both indoor botanical glasshouse compositions and outdoor market scenes.

Our artist collab features several of Charlotte’s drawings, both in ink and in soft and oil pastel. Head over to our online exhibit now to join Charlotte on her artistic journey to a small island in the Indian Ocean.

Charlotte Johnston is a Scottish artist working and living in England. Her epic ink and pastel drawings are part of our artist collab Moving Forward.
Charlotte Johnston

SCULPTURAL PAINTING AT ITS BEST: MEET SCOTTISH ARTIST TONI HARROWER

Toni Harrower, Scottish artist, makes sculptural 3D paintings in the most amazing colours. She is part of our artist collab Moving Forward.

Toni Harrower, a Scottish artist, makes sculptural paintings following a mathematical system and set procedures. She explores the physicality of paint in line with her interest in dementia. It makes her 3D paintings not only a sight for sore eyes but a sight for sore senses as well.

Toni alternates bright and primary colours with white, gold and black. Because of the many layers in her work it invites the viewer to associate freely and to make up his or her own story. For instance: Toni’s work has already reminded me of old maps of the world, the opening credits to Game of Thrones and royal icing on cakes.

So wait no longer, visit our online exhibit today and see for yourself what Toni’s art will make you experience!

ARTIST SIGNATURE STYLE FOUND AND HOW I DID IT

On the brink of 2021 I found my artist signature style: colourful collages with lots of layers and playful compositions. After two years of fiercely experimenting with everything I could lay my hands on it suddenly stroke. I am supposed to make what comes naturally!

my artist signature style that I found on the brink of 2021: colourful collages
my artist signature style that I found on the brink of 2021: colourful collages
my artist signature style that I found on the brink of 2021: colourful collages

YOUR ARTIST SIGNATURE USUALLY COMES NATURALLY

Colourful collages are always sneaking up on me. When I’m taking a day off, when I am abroad during a summer holiday, when I am on a train… If I have some scissors with me and some paper they will emerge from my hands even if I’m absent minded.

me with my favourite tool: my ancient scissors - the fran 2021
colour coded botanical shapes by the fran 2021
old art cut up to make new collages by the fran 2021

HOW I FOUND MY ARTIST SIGNATURE

During the last weeks of 2020 I was practically exhausted. A week earlier I moved into my new art studio and my husband had just told me that he also wanted to move to a new home. And I was like: are you kidding me? Can a person just enjoy one week in her life without any drastic changes? Apparently not. Even so I kept on going to my studio every morning. Not expecting anything extraordinary to happen. But just to be surrounded by my art. Bracing myself for everything that was about to change in 2021.

After two weeks I found myself making collages. And it escalated quickly. Within a week I made 45 of them and at first I really didn’t know what hit me! Wasn’t I tired of 2020? Wasn’t I trying to save my energy for all those things my husband cooked up? Apparently I was! And apparently I needed to make collages to feel energized and ready again.

That’s how it goes apparently: you can’t force your artist signature style to happen. Neither can you actively search for it. The only thing you can do is to make art like a maniac and it will find you eventually. Maybe I do need to add the tip ‘notice what you want to to/make when you’re exhausted and need a break’ to my earlier blog post about How to find your signature style as an artist.

2021: BRING IT ON!

So here we are: from now on I will make colourful collages with hand cut botanical shapes. And no virus or lockdown or social distancing or husband with life changing plans can stop me.

artist signature: colourful collages by the fran visual artist 2021
artist signature: handcut botanical shapes  by the fran visual artist 2021
artist signature style: colourful collages in the studio by the fran visual artist 2021

ABOUT BEARING FRUIT + HOW TO ENJOY ART DURING LOCKDOWN

If you want to enjoy art from home during lockdown you can now re-visit my online exhibit ‘Bearing fruit in Catalonia’. It was live on my homepage from 1/10 until 31/12. But to keep it available I have decided to make it into a blog post. So you can enjoy it during the current lockdown.

Bearing fruit in Catalonia

Artist: The Fran

This exhibition was live from 1/10/2020 until 31/12/2020

Drawings and paintings featured in this online exhibition are all available for purchase. Please contact me if you wish to know more.

Welcome to Bearing fruit in Catalonia:

Bearing fruit in Catalonia

bearing fruit in catalonia - art drying in the studio during my art residency in el turros
bearing fruit in catalonia - the fran in her art studio
ARTIST RESIDENCY

In July 2019 I enjoyed a artist residency near Gerona, Catalonia. I stayed at an old hacienda on the slope of a green hill and worked in a old but spacious outside shed. I brought all of my art supplies: ink, markers, oil, paper and large canvasses. But I didn’t brought a plan. I wanted my work to emerge out of me being there, connecting with the land and the environment.

bearing fruit in catalonia - fig drawing by the fran visual artist 2019

During one of the very scary walks downhill (I can’t see depth because of a ‘lazy’ eye) towards the village I found an apricot on the path. And I was like: what is this perfectly fine apricot doing on the ground? There was only one explanation possible: there had to be a tree. And there was. I was in awe! Apricots are one of my very favourite summer fruits but the ones in the supermarkets back home in The Netherlands are often very mushy or grainy. This one was fresh and sweet and smooth. And still it had been laying on the ground!

That’s when I started drawing:

bearing fruit in catalonia - cherry drawing by the fran visual artist 2019
DRAWN TO FRUIT

The first results were large fruit drawings exploring the different Mediterranean fruits. I wanted them to be the center of attention. I was so drawn to them it was like they had their own gravitational pull. In the end some of them indeed ended up in space:

After those drawings I immediately started painting them on large canvasses. I worked simultaneously on all nine and mixed very large amounts of every colour I intended to use.

The results from three weeks of painting:

bearing fruit in catalonia - art studio during art residency
LAST WEEK IN INK

The last week of my artist residency I couldn’t proceed on working on my large fruits. I had already stretched my possibilities by mixing my oils with white spirit to enhance the drying time to keep working on them for as long as I could. But the last week I had to let them be so they could dry. That’s when I started drawing again. This time with black ink. Processing all the street scenes and plants and trees in the wild I soaked in during those three weeks:

bearing fruit in catalonia - the fran in barcelona 2019
BARCELONA X THE FRAN

The last weekend of my stay I decided to visit Barcelona and the Picasso Museum. During that visit I became enthralled with Picasso’s apparent drive to not rest before he had explored every angle of his subject. That’s when I revisited my fruit drawings and started redoing them in ink:

bearing fruit in catalonia - lemon ink drawing by the fran visual artist 2019

Back home I reckoned it wasn’t only art I brought back with me. I felt a difference in my artistic approach as well. I explore different perspectives, aim to understand my subjects on a more abstract level and from time to time I intentionally let them go to be able to come back to them again. Like I did last summer by revisiting the street scene and plant ink drawings from 2019 and turning them into colourful oil pastel drawings:

REVISITING THE LARGE FRUITS IN THE SUMMER OF 2020:

In these two art talks I tell you about how I had to let these paintings go in the autumn of 2019 (because I hated them that much!). And about revisiting them in the summer of 2020 and making them mine again.

So it just goes to show: to be able to bear fruit you may just have to let go of your creations once in a while. Let them live a life of their own, let them grow on you (or not) and to develop the courage to kill (or alter) your darlings.

Thank you for visiting my online exhibition Bearing fruit in Catalonia.

If you would like to share your thoughts on these works, I would love to hear from you.

For more information about the this series you can read and watch more:

LOCKDOWN ART: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF IT AS AN ARTIST

Lockdown. Not the happiest of times for many of us artists. Cancelled art shows, closed down galleries, feeling blue or stressed out because of everything that is going on. No, lockdown doesn’t seem like the most inspirational of times when it comes to art. But! For me it has proved to be a very productive time. With little to no distractions I have been able to make several new art series during the first and second lockdown.

lockdown art in my studio the fran visual artist 2020

WHY LOCKDOWN WAS A FLY BY FOR ME

I must admit: I am an introvert at heart. So being alone and being at home really wasn’t a struggle for me at all. So I had that going for me. Also: I was able to access my studio during both lockdowns. I am a total loser when it comes to making art at home. Something with having too many distractions like the laundry waiting to be done or the kitchen waiting to be cleaned…) So having access to my studio turned out to be a life savor. Or art savor.

THE ART I MADE DURING LOCKDOWN

As I said: I made several new series of art during the two lockdowns. I’ve listed them below with the correct links for you to check them out. Some of them aren’t online yet, because when I am in an art making spree I tend to neglect my website…

lockdown art in my studio the fran visual artist 2020

LOCKDOWN ART: COSY CORNERS

Let me just highlight one of the art series I made during lockdown: my Cosy Corners.

I started working on these Cosy corners during the second COVID lockdown. It had just turned autumn in The Netherlands and I wanted to express my love for the new season. Also, I wanted to share my introvert view on lockdown. When being alone isn’t a struggle but a bliss and you are able to spend time surrounded by your plants or enjoy making some homegrown jam, lockdown isn’t very hard. It rather is a time for reflection. For enjoying everything that is still possible to do. And to give a little extra attention to the things at home you like to do best. Reading, planning the allotment for next year, making new art, watching a movie, taking a walk, preserving veggies.

So in essence these drawings are my introverted view on lockdown. They are not meant to sugar coat anything. Because I know very well how devastating the pandemic has been and still is for many of us. I merely thought there also ought to be an introverted take on things. Especially because I have experienced it way more popular to complain about not being able to do things and meet up with people. But when I replied to messages of support or questions about how am I coping, with: ‘I am doing great tbh, because I love the peace and quiet and I allow myself to be the recluse I actually always long to be’. Every single person replied with: ‘you know, so do I actually.’

So these Cosy Corners are also a celebration of introverts wherever they are. And whether they are ready to come out as such or not. I am an introvert and I am proud to be one!

WHAT TO EXPECT?

The current times are unpredictable so I am not sure what to expect art-wise. But I can say that I have definitively found my mojo when it comes to collages and mixed media artworks. So I think I can promise much more of that kind of works to come very soon. From January the 1rst I will be sharing new botanical collages on my Instagram account @art.bythefran . So if you would like to see daily updates be sure to follow me there.

For now I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2021. With art, friends, group immunity and vaccines! Stay safe and happy New Year’s Eve!

EXPANDING PORTFOLIO: MY NEW ART ONLINE

New art online alert! Because of my new art studio my portfolio is expanding rapidly. The last couple of months I wasn’t always able to keep up with my output. But last week I locked myself in a room with my laptop and vowed not to come out until my portfolio was up to date. And behold! I did it!

Check it out here.

AN EVER EXPANDING PORTFOLIO

Because of my new art studio and all the new possibilities to experiment with my portfolio grew substantially over the last couple of months. A series of new ink drawings. A series of small oil paintings on canvas boards. Two series of mixed media collages. A whole new project around wooden sculptures, lino prints and abstract paintings. A huge panorama painting with matching smaller studies on paper. And as we speak I am working on two emerging series of oil pastel drawings on paper. One with a seasonal theme and one with a ‘cosy corners’ theme.

So it was a lot. And since it’s still only me behind the scenes I couldn’t keep up with myself online – except for my Instagram account of course.

expanding portfolio: new art by the fran online
New online
expanding portfolio: new art by the fran online
Also new online

NEW SERIES OF ART ONLINE

So, what new art can you now enjoy online:

UNLOCKING MY EXPANDING PORTFOLIO

While working on expanding my online portfolio I also decided to give it an update. I have chosen to show highlights of every series in my portfolio. That way I hope it stays interesting to look at all those pieces of art. At the same time it gives you the opportunity to see my work evolve.

I have structured my portfolio chronologically. There are links to more information and more pictures after every highlighted series. And of course there is a contact button for if you’d like to know more or if you are interested in buying one or more works.

expanding portfolio: new art by the fran online
Season studies: new online
coming soon: cosy corners drawings by the fran visual artist 2020
Cosy corners drawings, coming soon

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on my expanding portfolio and on my work. I read in Navigating the Art World that as an early day artist you should avoid praise. Because it tells you exactly nothing. While I completely agree with that, that is the only thing you will ever get on social media. Nobody will ever tell you they hate your work for whatever reason. Or that it just isn’t good enough. Doesn’t move them. Or doesn’t do anything for them.

So I want to challenge you: please name ONE THING that you hate about my art in the comments. Or a thing that you feel really is missing. Or that you dislike. It would be so interesting for me and it would be the greatest feedback. It would be so much better than all those mindless likes. And mind you: I am not accusing my followers of being mindless. I am accusing social media itself as being completely mindless. That’s how it’s designed. So the people using it will have to work VERY hard not to become mindless themselves. ‘Nuff said! Would love to hear what you think!

ORGANISING ART: A NEW WAY OF BROWSING

Welcome on my ‘new’ website! I have edited the organising of my art. In stead of grouping them by medium I have now chosen the much more user friendly way of organising them by size. I asked a couple of friends how they would approach a search for art in their homes. They all stated they would start with the size. For that’s something that cannot be meddled with. A blank space on a wall doesn’t magically change from 60 x 80 cm to 100 x 120 overnight. So, organising art by size. What does this mean for you?

organising art in a new way: new menu structure as of autumn 2020

ORGANISING ART BY SIZE

It means I have divided all my art into five categories: huge art, large art, medium art, small art and tiny art. They represent the following sizes:

So if you’re looking for an artwork to brighten up a certain spot in your home, you now will have a clear category to browse through.

organising art by size: huge artworks by the fran visual artist 2020

FAREWELL TO LARGE MENU TREES

With organising my art in this new way I have also said goodbye to the large tree structured menu. What does this mean for you? When you check out my menu you will now only find the five different size categories. Once you click on one of those categories you will be led to that category’s landing page. From there you can continue your quest to find your favourite artwork.

organising art by size: large artworks by the fran visual artist 2020

LANDING PAGES FOR ORGANISING ART

What will you be able to find on these landing page? Let me break it down:

  • the perks of art in that particular size
  • the different available works of art in that particular size, organised per series
  • a gallery of how that particular size art would look like on your walls
  • the specs of that particular size of artworks
  • what kind of artworks I offer within that range
  • the options of commissioning an artwork in that size
organising art by size: medium artworks by the fran visual artist 2020

UNLOCKING MY ART: MAKING IT ACCESSIBLE

My goal with this new way of organising my art is to make it as easy as possible for you to find your favourite piece of art. Because I want to unlock my whole portfolio to you in a way that is fun and sparks your curiosity. So away with tedious long lists or never ending collections of paintings. And in with a comprehensible and uncluttered overview of all my art, organised by size.

small artworks by the fran visual artist 2020

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Given that I issued these changes with you in mind I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you find it easy to browse through my art? Do you feel something is still missing? Please let me know. You can reply on this blog post, DM me on Insta or contact me through my contact form. Thank you so much for your feedback. And for now: happy art browsing!

tiny artworks by the fran visual artist 2020

BOTANICAL ABSTRACTS: CHECK OUT MY NEW CAREFREE ART EXPERIMENTS

Last month I have been experimenting with new botanical abstracts. They really feel like some sort of art family all together. A diverse art family consisting of oil paintings, wooden sculptures and also some lino prints very soon. Most exciting aspect of them? I made them from a completely carefree state of mind.

blue botanical abstract original oil painting by the fran visual artist 2020
green botanical abstract original oil painting by the fran visual artist 2020
yellow botanical abstract original oil painting by the fran visual artist 2020
red botanical abstract original oil painting by the fran visual artist 2020

BOTANICAL ABSTRACTS: OIL PAINTINGS

My botanical abstracts are four oil on canvas paintings of 40 x 50 cm. Their background colour compositions are derivatives from blue, yellow, green and red. With notable grey tones in all the colours. On top of these grey-ish colours I painted four different botanical abstacts in dark brown and dark yellow. The brush strokes are quick. You can see the swift energy of the gestures in the end result.

CAREFREE ART

And it is exactly that swift energy that I was only being able to add because I was working from a completely carefree state of mind. How did I reach such a state of mind? It was a combination of different factors:

Factor 1: I over-painted old work for these. I don’t know why, but by over-painting old work I always feel very relaxed and confident. Maybe it’s because of the absence of a white canvas staring back at you? Demanding great art?

Carefree art factor 1: over-painting old work

Factor 2: I didn’t have a clear plan with these at all. I just started fantasising about the colour combinations and colour compositions. It wasn’t very worked out before I started. I just went with my gut and it all felt very low profile.

backgrounds botanical abstracts the fran visual artist 2020
Carefree art factor 2: no plan!
background green botanical abstract the fran visual artist 2020

Factor 3: The botanical abstracts themselves I painted with ‘left over’ paints from my large Applecross panorama. Painting with left overs always makes me feel very ‘la la la’ and ‘let’s just see what happens’.

palette left over paints by the fran visual artist 2020
Carefree art factor 3: using left over paints

Just before I painted the shapes of the botanical abstracts I had been painting all morning. Working on my large Applecross panorama. So I was in the zone, so to speak. I was really enjoying it and I felt confident about finishing those other paintings. And so I just did.

large applecross panorama painting by the fran visual artist 2020
Carefree art factor 4: enjoying yourself + feeling confident

So that’s carefree painting for you folks, haha! I feel it really shows and I also feel like I’m really on to something here. Also in the context of finding my signature style and in respect to letting them go. Because I feel very strongly there’s more where this came from!

MATCHING WOODEN SCULPTURES

Like I said: there’s more where this came from. Wooden sculptures for instance! After finishing my paintings I suddenly found myself fantasising about wooden sculptures. I had been wanting to try out fretwork for a while and I made sure I had everything I needed. Fretsaw, wood, different kinds of saws, polishing paper. The only thing I felt insecure about were my fret sawing skills. So I asked Bob to teach me and after one hour of sawing it seemed like fret sawing isn’t nearly as hard as I expected it to be! Bob even dared to say that I am something of a fretwork prodigy. Who would’ve thought!

I am working on four different wooden sculptures. One to go with each of the paintings. I recreated the botanical forms in 3D and painted them in non-grey blue, red, green and yellow. Along with a medium that provides a ceramic/pearl effect.

blue botanical abstract wooden sculpture by the fran visual artist 2020
wooden parts drying on the floor
red botanical abstract wooden sculpture by the fran visual artist 2020

BOTANICAL ABSTRACTS LINO PRINTS IN THE MAKING

While I was working on the first wooden sculpture I couldn’t help myself… I was already dreaming about also adding lino prints to this family! I’ve always wanted to master the art of lino printing and cutting. But, just as with fretwork, I wasn’t very good at it at school. But after my uplifting experience in that part I thought: well, maybe I shouldn’t doubt my lino cutting skills as much! Shortly after I ordered a starting kit and I am waiting for it to arrive as we speak. Once it’s here and I’ll have something to show for it you’ll be the first to know!

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH APPLECROSS

The last couple of weeks I have been working on my first large panorama painting. And I have made time lapse art videos of the painting process. In this post I have put them all together chronologically. So you can watch me paint autumn in Applecross. And see how it is all coming together. Scroll down to watch the time lapse videos. Read on if you want to know more about my love affair with Applecross. Or check out this blog post about all my new painting ideas first.

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH APPLECROSS

I am painting a view from the Applecross cafe looking from inside into the autumn walled garden. The Applecross walled garden is by far my favourite place on earth. Especially in autumn. This painting brings back memories of our North Coast 500 road trip back in the autumn of 2017. We travelled 500 miles in 7 days. We saw some of the most magnificent views the Highlands have to offer. And on the 5th day we stumbled upon the hidden gem in Applecross. A walled garden. Adorned by creepers in red and yellow, trees with ripe red apples and with a cafe with an inside grape. Its vines all over the ceiling. On top of that there was a crackling fire adding smells of hot wood. And I had the best brie-bacon-raspberry jam sandwich of my life. If that doesn’t sound like paradise than I don’t know what will…

when my love affair with Applecross started
Applecross cafe (2017)

PAINTING AUTUMN IN APPLECROSS

So, I am painting autumn in Applecross. Because this year we weren’t able to visit our beloved Highlands. But as an artist there is always more than one path to a destination. So I decided to just paint the place I was longing for.

The stage it is in now: I have painted the autumn garden, but still need to add the arbour. Next step is to add the interior of the cafe and of course the inside grape hanging from the ceiling. You can follow my love affair on Instagram as well:

After that the only thing left to do is to make myself a cup of coffee and something resembling that delicious sandwich and pretending I am at the other side of the North Sea. Happy autumn!

AUTHENTICITY AND CONNECTION: THE ART OF LETTING GO

Currently I am in the retreating phase of one of my creative waves. That means I am contemplating my work, its themes, the things I am exploring and why. And just now I realised that I have been operating on a scale of authenticity and connection. And that maybe now the time has come for me to step out of that scale.

A scale of authenticity and connection?

What do I mean with a scale of authenticity and connection when it comes to my art practice? I feel like I am constantly balancing the authenticity of my work with how it will or won’t connect with others. Let me give you an example. When I come up with something to make I also immediately think about how others will react to it. And whether it may be defining me as something or someone to other people. As a result depending on how I feel I will choose to compromise the authenticity of my work. Or I will choose to push through with a sort of devil-may-care attitude.

I now feel that this doesn’t suit me no more. Neither ways: no pushing and no compromising or self-censuring my creativity.

authenticity and connection: no longer compromising my art practice - the fran visual artist 2020

My understanding of this scale within my work up until now

For the first time in my life I am being totally okay with being in this retreating phase. Contemplating, silent, processing. Being okay with it took it to a whole different level of contemplating. I started looking at my artistic practice and the way how I connect with my own work.

I now understand that I have been connecting with my work the same way as I have learned to bond with people as a child: co-dependently.

authenticity and connection: making large fruits just because I want to make them - the fran visual artist 2020

What is codependency?

Codependency is an unsafe attachment style adopted by children who cannot bond with their parents/caregivers in a healthy, loving way. Codependency makes you want to manipulate other’s opinions of you for your own good (your own sense of being loved). Rather than developing a sense of authentic self love and self respect. In essence: you need others to love you in order to be able to love yourself. And you will do anything to ensure they will. Even compromising yourself.

This of course is a recipe for disaster when it comes to developing a strong sense of self. And of self-expression. Because codependency leaves you in a place of constant worry. Worry about how others are perceiving you and whether they will still love you tomorrow.

new and familiar: large collage artwork by the fran visual artist 2020

The art of letting go

Now that I am healing from all kinds of unconstructive patterns I am able to discover those patterns in my artistic practice as well. Suggesting that my art exists on a scale of authenticity and connection is in a way deeply codependent. At the same time I understand that as an artist you’re not operating on an island. And that most of us actually do create art to feel connected. Whether it is with nature, with our inner world and/or with the souls of others). I now understand as well that the purpose of connection can never be the cause of compromising your authenticity. Because only from creating through that strong sense of authentic expression you will experience true connection.

Choose authenticity and connection will follow

So, from now on I will be practicing the art of letting go. Making art because I feel it wants to be made through me and subsequently letting it go. Allowing it to have its own journey once it’s out of my hands. Meeting and connecting with like minded souls, whoever that may be.

I will be winking at them from a distance, wishing them well while creating new art.